An Odd Mix at The Blue Glass' Happy Hour

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The Place: The Blue Glass, 704 NW 65th St., 420-1631, BALLARD.

The Hours: 4:30-6 p.m., Monday-Saturday.

The Digs: Mid-century hotel bar meets neighborhood watering hole at The Blue Glass, whose namesake cobalt lantern hangs outside to mark the location on the increasingly populated stretch of NW 65th Street between Ballard and Phinney (Phallard?). Locals sit in small parties at tall tables--there is little room for groups bigger than four, so it's best to come for more intimate tête-à-têtes. Dates be warned: the bright light that floods in through window panels in the roll-up door offers such extreme backlighting that you may not be able to see more than a silhouette sitting across the table from you.

The Deal: Nobody wanting a beer would head to Blue Glass with killer brewpub The Dray next door, and the happy hour menu there reflects its status. Beer (offered at a buck off draft, plus $3-tallboys of Rainier) plays second fiddle to cocktails. The Luna Azul Scratch Margarita is made with muddled citrus and served in a pint glass; it's refreshing and not overly sweet (a redeeming quality in many of Blue Glass' cocktails), though packs far less punch than you'd expect from 16 ounces. At $5.50, though, it's hard to complain much. Well drinks are just $5, but you can get better quality booze in your martini or Manhattan if you're willing to up the bill to $6.50.

The menu as a whole suffers from a bizarre identity crisis--what is billed as "global comfort food" ranges from Thai beef sticks to Andalusian gazpacho, Manila clams with chorizo to a roasted poblano burger. Fortunately, though, the happy hour items are less ostentatious, meant to be shared and paired with drinks. Spend $3-$6 and you'll find pulled pork tacos, plates of cheese and meats, poutine, or chicken wings. Dining with a vegetarian meant we tried a trio of spicy pickled veggies--fennel, carrots, and cauliflower--that offered pleasant heat, as well as a sage biscotti topped with house-made ricotta and drizzled with honey, which just seemed to be trying too hard.

The Verdict: Though it's been open just over a year, Blue Glass gives the impression that they still haven't quite hit their stride. It's incongruous in both design and concept--not in an off-putting way, but in one that doesn't demand a return visit. Happy hour offers a low-commitment opportunity to check out the place and not drop $100 on dinner and drinks, something that seems entirely possible here, but should be reserved for a surefire destination. That said, we've heard brunch is great.

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